Stocks: Tuesday's review
Japanese stocks climbed the most in two months as the yen fell amid optimism the European Union will do more to ease the region’s debt crisis and a report showed Japan’s industrial production is set to rebound.
Mazda Motor Corp. gained 1.5% as the euro rose against the yen.
Sony Corp. (6758) climbed 1.9% amid speculation the EU will offer further aid to Greece.
Fanuc Corp., a maker of industrial robots, rose 1.8% after a Trade Ministry report showed factory production may recover from March’s earthquake disaster as soon as next month.
Stocks rose today after Japanese manufacturers surveyed by the Trade Ministry said they plan to increase factory output 8% this month and a further 7.7% in June. If those plans materialize, the index that tracks Japan’s industrial production would rise to 97.1, just below February’s level of 97.9 before the quake.
European stocks climbed after the euro rallied to a three-week high as investors speculated that European officials will sanction additional financial assistance for Greece.
Inspectors from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank plan to conclude their review of Greece’s progress in meeting the terms of last year’s 110 billion-euro ($158 billion) bailout in the coming days. The EU will then formulate its plan for additional aid.
Alpha Bank SA and EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA (EUROB) led a rally in Greek banks, climbing more than 8%.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S led alternative-energy stocks higher for a second day.
Steelmakers also advanced after Voestalpine AG (VOE) posted higher full-year profit.
Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) plunged 18% after the company cut its second-quarter and its full-year outlook for devices and services.
In Europe, German retail sales rose in April as unemployment fell below 3 million for the first time in almost 19 years. Separate figures showed that inflation in the euro area slowed in May to 2.7% from 2.8% in April.
The rally in U.S. stocks regained momentum Tuesday afternoon, but the day's gains weren't enough to lift the market out of the red for the month. In fact, the market's performance in May was the worst since August 2010. The Dow tumbled nearly 2% for the month, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost 1.3%.
All but one of the Dow's components posted gains, with Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500), Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) and Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500) leading the advance.
Economy: According to the closely watched S&P Case-Shiller Index, home prices recently fell to their lowest levels since the housing bubble burst. Prices tumbled 4.2% in the first quarter, sending home prices back to levels not seen since mid-2002.
The Chicago Purchasing Managers index fell more than expected to 56.6 in May, from 67.6 the previous month. Economists were expecting the figure to slip to 62.5.
The Conference Board's consumer sentiment index declined to 60.8 in May, from 65.4 in April. Economists were expecting consumer confidence to rise to 66.3.
Companies: Shares of Nokia (NOK) tumbled 14%, after Nokia issued a sales warning that the second quarter will be lower than previously expected. The cell phone maker, which has been losing market share to Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), also lowered its full-year outlook.
Shares of Apple rose 3% after the company said that CEO Steve Jobs, who is on medical leave, will introduce the iCloud service during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 6 in San Francisco.